Response to Recommendations of School Meals Review Panel

“Turning the Tables: Transforming School Food”


In their Main Report of 29th. September, 2005 the SMRP made 35 Recommendations under five main headings for effecting the transformation of average UK school meals from their current parlous state to an acceptable standard meeting modern criteria of choice, diet and value.

This web page is an introduction to our response to this challenge utilising CATERMAN to meet those recommendations in an efficient and economical way, costing £1 per pupil per term. Please read our responses in conjunction with page 11 of the report:

( Report Consultation Version FINAL.doc)


The Standards


Recommendations 1 and 2: All recipes provide a complete nutrition analysis, and any recipes can be selected from any menus across any date range to give complete nutrition provision from those recipes.


Recommendation 3: CATERMAN provides for calculation of resources and manpower required to produce any menu(s), plus required ingredients, methods/instructions and HACCP with subsequent production trail and product tracking if required.


Recommendation 4: CATERMAN can be applied to any service, not just restaurants.


Recommendation 5: Inclusion of nutrient data from external sources such as NATS2 and USDA (US Department of Agriculture) to recipes is quick and easy, and should a suitable UK source become available this will also be accommodated. Manual entry of nutrition data is of course available.


Recommendation 6: Menu planning, recipe production preceded by suggested ordering is provided. Facilities for pupils to pre-order and pre-pay for meals using the internet can be provided, thus a meal can be ready on a tray at a pre-ordained time for collection by an identified (using swipe card/RFID tag/etc.) pupil – meals uncollected for legitimate reasons can be refunded.


Recommendation 7: Not applicable.


Recommendation 8: CATERMAN provides for local suppliers to proffer their products directly to the school/caterer via the internet. Approved suppliers are set-up on CATERMAN with an external access password which allows the supplier to maintain price and availability data for his products which are then presented to the purchaser (school/caterer) as an option when considering purchase of a stock item. The purchaser is informed of any special properties of the supplier (local, quality star, etc.) to be taken into consideration.


Recommendation 9: All recipes purchased by a pupil are recorded, and can be analysed for nutritional content over any period of time. This can also be done by selected groups of pupils.


Recommendation 10: Target nutrient provision/consumption can be entered and used for reports of performance for any period of time.


Delivering Change


Recommendation 11: All recipes can be accompanied by resource and personnel requirements with skill levels, preparation and production methods.


Recommendation 12: Interaction between customers (pupils) and catering staff via the internet is encouraged by CATERMAN. Customers may enter remarks/suggestions to the system (subject to authorisation), and catering staff may respond.


Recommendation 13: Parents/guardians with authorisation may inspect the menus, recipes and ingredient data of CATERMAN, plus their own customer purchases over any time period. The school policies etc. are expected to be on the school website.


Recommendation 14: CATERMAN provides for multiple organisations, including training units, either as part of the overall account or as separate training accounts. Pupils should be encouraged to create their own recipes and recognise the nutrient content. CATERMAN is used by colleges for specialised chef training, and accommodates complete curriculum so that provisioning for classes is automatically made.


Recommendation 15: Interaction with local suppliers is accommodated.


Recommendation 16: Parents/guardians can mix and match between school meals and packed lunches if they wish.


Getting Started


Recommendation 17: CATERMAN provides for set school meals and/or cafeteria environments. Cashless service is promoted by use of pupil accounts even in cafeteria situations.


Recommendation 18: CATERMAN allows for complete anonymity for free school meals recipients. There is no discernible difference between pupils with a daily spend limit whose accounts have been incremented by internet, bank transfer or allowance.


Recommendation 19: CATERMAN is constantly developed to provide new facilities.


Recommendation 20: CATERMAN already assimilates data from NATS2 ( and USDA ( databases. We await developments from the FSA.


Financial Investment


Recommendation 21: CATERMAN is so economical compared with any other known cashless catering system (no proprietary EPOS terminals, no expensive smart cards, no maintenance, etc., etc.) that money can be diverted to reducing school meal costs.


Recommendation 22: Where does all the money go? CATERMAN provides for full transparency on all aspects of catering.


Recommendation 23: With school permission, government and/or local authorities can monitor catering activity utilising a variety of reports via the internet.


Recommendation 24: CATERMAN facilitates mobility of EPOS terminals to enable flexible dining room layouts. EPOS terminals based on Wi-Fi enabled laptop computers can be used anywhere in range of the Wi-Fi router.


Recommendation 25-26: Not in CATERMAN scope.


Recommendation 27: Monitoring catering performance and costs is facilitated by CATERMAN, together with long-term nutrient consumption by pupils/groups of pupils as raw data for educational psychologist statistical study.


Recommendation 28-30: Not in CATERMAN scope.


Monitoring and Evaluation


Recommendation 31: How do you identify children who are nutritionally at risk? CATERMAN helps to do this.


Recommendation 32: CATERMAN developments currently in-hand include a Monitoring Sub-System that will provide powerful facilities for inspectors and other interested parties to monitor all aspects of any selected activity.


Recommendation 33: CATERMAN pilots are provided for £10! Why not try it! See


Recommendation 34: CATERMAN can be provided for schools by local authorities for as little as £100 per school per annum. All reports covering individual schools or groups of schools are available centrally. If required, a central CATERMAN server can be purchased and run by the LEA rather than using the standard internet version.


Recommendation 35: When this database becomes available CATERMAN will accommodate it if feasible.




We believe that CATERMAN represents a major breakthrough in the cost effective provision of catering management, especially for schools and colleges. If there are any areas or aspects in which you believe CATERMAN could be improved, please contact us.